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US power markets mixed on varied demand forecasts

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US power markets mixed on varied demand forecasts

Next-day power markets across the U.S. spent the Wednesday, March 21, session mixed to lower as values mirrored outlooks for choppy Thursday demand.

Following a round of gains the day before, the front-month April natural gas futures contract closed the session down 3.7 cents at $2.638/MMBtu.

In other supply, total U.S. nuclear plant availability rose early March 21 to 87.51%.

Looking at the weather, the fourth nor'easter so far this month "will bring heavy snow, wind, and coastal flooding to the Mid-Atlantic and New England," according to the National Weather Service.

East values flounder as 4th nor'easter hits region

With the month's fourth nor'easter hitting the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, next-day power markets in the East favored losses Wednesday with mostly lower load forecasts adding even more downward pressure on prices.

At next-day markets, losses of roughly $10 were noted at the New England Mass hub and PJM West, where power changed hands in the high $30s to low $40s at the former and the low to mid-$40s at the latter. In New York, next-day trades shed $1 to $3 on the session and were pegged in the low $30s at New York Zone G and the high $20s at Zone A.

At day-ahead markets, power packages also floundered. DAMs at the Mass hub, New York Zone A, Zone G and Zone J tumbled by $1 to $6 from Tuesday to averages of $49.18, $26.50, $30.14 and $40.71, respectively.

Demand in the Northeast is projected to fall during the latter part of the workweek. Load in New England may crest at 16,600 MW on Wednesday and 15,700 MW on Thursday, while demand in New York should top out at 20,100 MW on Wednesday and 18,900 MW on Thursday.

Grid operators in the mid-Atlantic project varied load. Demand in the PJM Mid-Atlantic region may run up to 38,344 MW on Wednesday and 36,990 MW on Thursday, while load in the PJM Western region could post highs of 55,820 MW on Wednesday and 56,565 MW on Thursday.

Western power markets varied amid sagging demand forecasts

Prices in the West moved in different directions Wednesday with values pressured by forecasts for subdued Thursday demand.

The California ISO is calling for load peaks of 27,749 MW on Wednesday and 27,508 MW on Thursday. However, on-peak deals at South Path-15 added more than $2 and were seen in the low $40s.

In the Northwest, Mid-Columbia and the California-Oregon Border hub saw power trade $1 to $2 lower from Tuesday with deals heard in the mid- to high teens at the former and the mid-$20s at the latter.

Markets in the Southwest diverged, with Palo Verde packages adding about a dollar in the low $20s while Mead transactions shed slightly more than a dollar and were quoted in the mid-$20s.

Texas values notch gains with demand support

Strong Thursday load forecasts helped next-day markets in Texas swing higher Wednesday.

Demand in Texas may reach highs of 38,646 MW on Wednesday and 40,228 MW on Thursday. Supported by load, next-day deals at ERCOT North added about a dollar and spanned the mid-$20s.

Day-ahead markets in the region saw mixed to ultimately higher moves. ERCOT Houston and ERCOT North packages added $1 to $2 from Tuesday and averaged $25.18 and $24.23, respectively, while DAMs at ERCOT South were steady to Tuesday and averaged $23.28. Conversely, DAMs at ERCOT West eased by less than $1 and averaged $20.39.

Midwestern day-ahead markets move mixed at midweek

Varied Thursday demand forecasts sent day-ahead markets in the Midwest in different directions Wednesday.

Day-ahead deals at PJM AEP-Dayton shed more than $1 from Tuesday and averaged $44.81, while PJM Northern Illinois saw trades add more than $5 from Tuesday and average $38.71.

Looking at load, demand in the PJM AEP region should near highs of 18,068 MW on Wednesday and 18,554 MW on Thursday, while load in the PJM ComEd region should peak near 12,145 MW on Wednesday and 12,135 MW on Thursday.

Market prices and included industry data are current as of the time of publication and are subject to change. For more detailed market data, including power and natural gas index prices, as well as forwards and futures, visit our Commodities pages.